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Jim Crane/S&P and Nancy Leung/Row approve this.    Date:02/11/2018 21:08  Duration:00:00:30  Edit No:7154  Copyright:(c) 2018 Thomson Reuters, unless otherwise identified. Full statement available at https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en/copyright.html  Restrictions:Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE . For Reuters customers only.  Source Format:HD  Audio:MUTE  Locations:MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA  Source:VADIM MATYHIN  Revision:2  Topics:Disaster/Accidents  Source News Feeds:Core News,Eyewitness Video  ID:tag:reuters.com,2018:newsml_WD823XCG7:2
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Jim Crane/S&P and Nancy Leung/Row approve this. Date:02/11/2018 21:08 Duration:00:00:30 Edit No:7154 Copyright:(c) 2018 Thomson Reuters, unless otherwise identified. Full statement available at https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en/copyright.html Restrictions:Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE . For Reuters customers only. Source Format:HD Audio:MUTE Locations:MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA Source:VADIM MATYHIN Revision:2 Topics:Disaster/Accidents Source News Feeds:Core News,Eyewitness Video ID:tag:reuters.com,2018:newsml_WD823XCG7:2
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 / AFP PHOTO / Prakash MATHEMA        (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Heavy winds earlier forced the plane to change course, Teletica reports

The plane was a single-engine turboprop operated by Nature Air

(CNN) —  

A small plane crash Sunday in northwest Costa Rica killed 12 people, including 10 US citizens, officials said.

The single-engine turboprop’s two Costa Rican pilots also died in the crash, President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera said in a statement posted on social media. There were no survivors.

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security posted several images of the wreckage on its official Facebook page, showing the plane engulfed in flames in a wooded area, with smoke billowing from charred rubble.

A spokesperson for the US State Department confirmed the deaths of “multiple US citizens” in the crash.

“We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. We are in contact with Costa Rican aviation authorities and will continue to monitor the situation,” the spokesperson said.

Hours before crash, winds forced change of course

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which happened early Sunday afternoon in Nandayure, a region in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province.

Authorities said Sunday they were focusing on recovering the victims’ bodies and would begin an investigation into the cause of the crash first thing Monday.

The plane took off from the Punta Islita Airport at 12:10 p.m. Sunday, bound for Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Officials received reports of the crash around 12:20 p.m., 10 minutes after takeoff, CNN affiliate Teletica reported, citing civil aviation authorities.

Earlier Sunday, heavy winds had forced the plane’s pilots to land at another airport and delay their arrival in Punta Islita, Teletica said.

President vows to help victims’ families

Costa Rica’s President expressed his condolences on Twitter.

“The government vows to do everything necessary to help the victims’ family members in whatever they need in this difficult moment and sends them the solidarity of all the Costa Rican people,” Solis said.

The private aircraft, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan registered as TI-BEI, was part of Nature Air’s fleet, officials said. Officials from the airline could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Caravan is a popular utility aircraft that’s routinely used for carrying passengers or cargo. More than 2,500 have been built since the aircraft entered service in 1984, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

One of the pilots who died in the crash was the cousin of Costa Rican ex-President Laura Chinchilla, the former leader said on her Twitter account.

CNN’s Kiarinna Parisi, Florencia Trucco, Radina Gigova, Karen Smith and Jon Ostrower contributed to this report.